In that Christmas Spirit & A Bumpdate <3

Good morning, friends! How are you doing? I am writing from a Nervous Dog in chilly Ohio- well, chilly at the moment. It’s supposed to get to 38 degrees F  later, and in my book that’s exciting because that’s still over 30 and feasible to take Moose for a walk!

Anyway, recapping some of our time in December. This has been one unforgettable month.

We have continued our walks with Moose where the weather allows. We have been very lucky as this has been most days! I have grown to actually love these cooler walks. There is something so calming about it. Maybe it’s a type of cryotherapy, hah. DJ said it’s the highlight of his week too when we go as a family on Saturdays and Sundays.

We have started letting him off leash as much as possible (when no one/no bikers are around). He does so well & it is the cutest thing seeing how excited he gets when that leash is off. He is his happiest running around and exploring.

There is one biker on the trail who passes us frequently, and a couple weeks ago he said “HI MOOOSE!” as he zipped passed. I must say “Stay Moose” enough as he passes that he learned Moose’s name haha. A couple days ago he stopped his bike and played with Moose for a little bit. It was adorable! Moose makes friends wherever he goes.

This vid also cracks me up. I was working on my laptop, and I looked over and he was chewing on my scarf. He looked so frantic & guilty when I caught him, lol. (We do let him have that old running shoe as a chew toy, we recently took the laces out though just to be safe).

On December 4th, I went to Rachel’s to see her new home and have a cookie baking night! I also got to meet her new pup, Trotter, who is the most adorable golden retriever. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture- next time!! I know Trotter and Moose would be best of friends, I can’t wait for them to meet. She also made me the most refreshing and yummy lemon rosemary mocktail, and we sipped away while we chatted, ate some cheese and crackers and baked Christmas cookies!

We mayyy have burnt both batches on the bottom, but they actually still tasted pretty good (well the tops anyway, hah).

After making our cookies, we watched Love Hard. It was adorable and gave me my once a year Hallmark-type movie fix: cheesy, predictable and made me cry happy tears. The tears mayyy have been a bit amplified by the hormones. (Also I didn’t understand the title Love Hard– but someone said it is a combination of Love Actually and Die Hard and that makes a lot of sense!).

The whole night got me majorly in the Christmas spirit and it was SO GOOD to see Rach.

Feeling festive, I decided that weekend was the best time to get some decorations up. We didn’t get a tree this year with Moose being sure to destroy it, so on December 5th we put up our mini tree from last year and decorated our bamboo ladder with Christmas lights. It is the perfect amount of cozy needed this time of year! Next year, you best believe we are getting back on that real-tree routine, especially with baby here <3

For lunch almost every day for the last few weeks, I have some form of tacos. Ever since we had them at our family get together a few weeks ago, I cannot get enough. So far I have made chickpea tacos, veggie tacos, egg tacos (a lot of these), and my favorite so far were the bison tacos. I usually add a dash of various taco spices, whatever the main filling is mixed with steamed spinach, peppers/onions and then top with whole milk chobani yogurt, cheese, avocado and tabasco over a cassava tortilla or lettuce wraps. YUM. CANNOT get enough!

This was the week before I started my new job, and I wanted to take full advantage of getting ready for Christmas. I spent December 6th and 7th baking away. I made a list of what I wanted to make, ran to the store and then baked both days away while listening to Christmas music. It was magical!

Think Paul Hollywood would approve of that roll? Lol. When I cut it, I exclaimed excitedly to DJ “I see a swirl!!!”. I know it probably could be (a lot) neater, but it was my first time making a Swiss roll from scratch! It was so much fun and rewarding. Plus it tasted pretty good (the important part). I think I still prefer the Swiss rolls with some chocolate, but for raspberry lovers, this was pretty darn delish.

Here is the line up of all the rest of recipes I used, and my personal review of each:

Buckeyes: Very good! My mom-in-law said easily some of the best she’s had and they were DJ’s favorite too. I did omit the brown sugar in the recipe because I didn’t want them to be too gritty.

Gingerbread Cookies: I love gingerbread cookies, and I thought this recipe was really good. I don’t like them too crunchy, these were nice and soft.

Saltine Cracker Toffee: I added pistachios on top and truly had a hard time not eating half the batch. SO addictive. I did have to do this batch over though because my chocolate morsels didn’t melt on the first batch. I recommend using true melting chocolate, melting it a little beforehand and then spreading on the saltines.

Grinch Snowball Cookies: I don’t love snowballs, but if you do, you’ll probably like these. I mainly made them for a pop of color.

Lemon Butter Cookies: This was my personal favorite, and I think I’ll have to make them every year from now on. I added about double lemon zest that the recipe calls for, and I highly recommend doing that if you make this recipe. Never can have enough zest!

Coconut Macaroons: Super easy and tasty if you love coconut.

Peanut butter blossoms: Yummy, classic. I think I did under-bake them a little bit this time from leaving the fridge too long pre-rolled. I also prefer the Reese’s PB cups in the middle of the PB blossom rather than the Hersey’s Kiss, but that’s totally a personal preference!

One my baking days, I dropped off Moose at Camp Bow Wow. It’s good socialization for him, and it would have been tough to do all that baking with him around (especially because his new favorite thing is counter surfing, and so far all the tricks we’ve heard to get him to stop haven’t worked). Anyway, when I picked him up, he was pretty tired both days, and I was tired from baking, so we took a quick nap before I got to prepping for dinner.

On December 9th, I met with my mom-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew, Ender, at Michael’s AM.

I’ve craved this breakfast since we went here. I had a veggie omelette with a side of grits (I had to get them when I saw them on the menu!) and a side of rye toast. We also all tried one of their waffles which was maybe one of the best waffles I’ve had. I want to take DJ back to try it very soon to have this whole meal again round 2!

Even better than the food was the conversation- I feel like we could have chatted there all day!

On December 10th, Moose got in a nice long walk with lots of room to roam and we played catch with a stick until he got tired enough to lay down in the sun. He loves his sun bathing.

On December 11th, Moose started 1st Grade! After him doing so well on the first day, we went through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through and got him a pup cup while I got a decaf coffee with oat milk & DJ grabbed a breakfast sandwich.

That evening, we had DJ’s work Christmas party. It was so much fun & I adore his coworkers. He works with an awesome group of people. I’ve only met them a couple times, but I feel like they’re already friends. We did a white elephant exchange and actually really lucked out with getting a dog toy & treats. This Santa toy is easily Moose’s favorite at the moment!

December 12th, I met up with my brother, SIL, niece and nephews, my sister, Andi, and her mom who flew in from Colorado!

We went to a place that holds a lot of sentimental value for us all- Luna’s. My dad used to take us here often growing up and we all love their food. The minute I walked in, the scent of the diner brought back a rush of memories. This is the type of place that has regulars and the nicest staff.

The best part was being back there all together and sharing this special place with my niece and nephews <3

My brother put these sunglasses on Will- how stinking cute is he!!!

My niece, Kate, started another tradition we used to do – jelly stacking. Did anyone else do this at diners growing up? She did this so quickly – we were all very impressed with her skills!

Once you become a pro at the jelly stacking, the next level is stacking the creamers. I think our record was 11 creamers high or something, but I’m sure Kate will pass that up soon 🙂

For food, I had their skillet. Ohhh I love a skillet. All those hashbrowns, peppers, eggs, cheese- yumm. This was deeeelish.Family picture! Just missed Kevin & Halston <3 We will see them next week though 🙂

After breakfast, we headed to our cousins for the annual Peppernut cookie baking! This is a very special cookie in our family that we have made for generations. The original name for them are Pfeffernüsse, with German origins.

It was so much fun because my nephew, Jack, and niece, Kate, are now old enough to partake in the baking fun!

It was so so special showing them how to roll the dough and do the cut outs, and then my sister Andi did the decoration station with them. Very treasured memories <3

That afternoon, I was prepping for starting my job the next day and DJ was working away on his laptop too. DJ got up to go upstairs for something, and when I walked into the living room, Moose was investigating his laptop. I was cracking up joking he was trading company secrets.

Well, I shouldn’t have laughed too hard, because not long after he did the same thing to me! I am actually convinced he may have just been buying Christmas gifts for himself or my mom joked that maybe he was trying to order Uber Eats.

December 13th I started my new job! Let’s chat job stuff for a second. I had heard from friends how difficult it can be to secure a nurse practitioner job fresh out of school, and it has been. At a certain point I started doing some reflecting. I saw so many nursing roles open and far fewer NP. After a lot of thought, prayer and conversation- I decided to start applying for nursing jobs. I just got a job in the hospital in an area I can learn new skills and continue to grow as a nurse! I feel at peace and excited about it. I have loved the orientation so far and am grateful to work with/for such an incredible team and hospital. It’s not the path I had originally envisioned maybe a year ago, and it doesn’t mean I’ll never work as an NP, but I’m committed to this role and don’t have a timeline or anything set for myself at the moment. This role will be so perfect throughout pregnancy and after baby is born too- it’s very flexible and allows me to not take work home with me.  I’m just going to soak up this direction for all its worth, aim to be the best nurse I can be for my patients and trust God has a plan for this path and all future paths!

On December 16th, my pregnancy pillow came in! I AM OBSESSED. I tried another pillow that smelled a little like chemicals, so I tried to find one that was considered to be made with non-toxic materials. When I stumbled across this one, I had to try it out, especially because the reviews raved about it. This thing is so comfortable and is made with only clean fabrics. It’s a little pricier than what I would have preferred to spend, but it really is worth every single penny.

On December 22nd, I put the final touches on my gift wrapping! I love doing this every year. I usually will lock myself away in a room, put on a TV show and get to work! Something about gift wrapping is so therapeutic.

I also just had to share this- my neck was killin’ me in this moment, but Moose was so comfortable I didn’t want to make him move. He is the cuddliest dog I think I’ve ever known. I hope he is forever my 80-90 lb. lapdog. (That’s what is estimated he will be when he’s full grown).

Aaand finally!!! I have a bumpdate (a bump update)! I have hardly been showing at all, and finally at 19 weeks, I feel like I see a bump. My mom didn’t really show until 7 months, so I think I may be following in her genetic footsteps.

I did start to feel flutters around 18 weeks, I think I also have felt maybe one solid kick from baby girl 💕 It’s one of the most amazing and miraculous experiences.

I hope you have the most Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & a Happy New Year! Sending so much love to all of you as we move into 2022.

Questions for you: 

  • Do you have a special family Christmas cookie?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
  • How has your holiday season been so far?

<3,

Mackenzie

First Few Weeks Home <3

Hi, everyone!! I am so ready to start the Ohio recaps. We have LOVED being back. I thought I was going to have many more mixed emotions since I also loved Austin so much- but as soon as I was back it just felt right…As though an entirely new chapter had begun, which it had! Although.. I do miss those sunset runs and find myself day dreaming about them time to time 💭.

Anyway, I drove back from Nashville early August just in time for our anniversary. Unfortunately, I hit a ton of traffic, so I didn’t get back until late- but we had planned on formally celebrating our anniversary another weekend anyway. More than anything- I just couldn’t wait to see DJ. Those three months apart were not easy, and I hope to never have to do that again. I hadn’t seen our townhouse in person either, so I was excited about that too!

DJ gave me a tour, and I immediately noticed the gorgeous flowers he got me for our anniversary <3 Also, side note- you can see wrapping paper up on the windows. We used the wrapping paper as a place holder before we got blinds. I think DJ actually made it look quite nice, and it was a much cheaper alternative than getting those temporary blinds!

The next week was operation get-unpacked-and-organized! I also spent a few days submitting a poster presentation to a national nursing conference- I won’t hear until December if it was accepted though.

I also discovered my love for a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with oat milk. Yes I know, very late to the game on that one!

We saw family throughout the week that I hadn’t seen since 2019 (!!!), and I got to meet two nephews, which was obviously a big highlight 😊 I also can’t even tell ya how nice it was to have my mom-in-law and Gordie’s cooking again. Gosh, it is SO nice they, and much of our family, are just 15 minutes down the road!

That weekend we ordered from my favorite restaurant in town- Aladdin’s! They have a falafel pizza that is *chefs kiss*. DJ also loves their lamb dish. And of course, we can’t get enough of their famous hot sauce. Well, it’s famous in my book 😉

Around then, I started feeling a little under the weather for about a week- I think my immune system was just shot from all the travel and stress of the summer. When I started feeling 100% again, I started applying for jobs like crazy, went to the BMV (about 4 different times 😭), finished up getting the essential furniture for our home, and we got back to trying some restaurants in town. We ordered breakfast takeout from a nearby restaurant- Garretts Mill Diner. This was an amazing breakfast & those pancakes are in a league of their own!

Also, we had a good laugh over this receipt (look under veggie omelette).

I didn’t make a big deal out of ordering egg whites or anything, so I’m guessing Brian made an order wrong earlier that day. Oh, Brian! It seemed like such a sweet staff when I went in to pick up the order, so I’m sure someone was just playfully ribbing him. Whenever an order anywhere is wrong for us now we jokingly go, “Come on, Brian!”. But in this case, lemme tell ya, Brian made a GREAT egg white omelette!!

The weather toward the end of summer and early fall was absolutely gorgeous. We took full advantage and tried to get in as many hikes as possible!

We downloaded the AllTrails app which we lovee & started out on our first hike: Deer Run Trail.

This hike was a bit buggy, but still enjoyable.

Next was Brandywine Falls, probably my favorite hike to date.

I was amazed by these beautiful waterfalls! It’s kinda crazy that we lived here for most of our lives and didn’t know about some of these trails- my mom said she did take us here once when we were younger, but I don’t have a recollection of it!

The trail transforms from a shaded and wooded area with ledges and falls to an open running trail with a couple quaint little farms lining the trail. If you look closely, you will see a little lamb peering through the doorway.

The trail eventually went back to a more traditional wooded trail with a stream never too far out of reach.

For dinner, we found a new favorite restaurant- CoreLife Eatery. It is kinda like a Sweet Green (Sweet Green still is better, but this gives us our delicious salad fix!).

Near the end of August, I was craving a run on one of my favorite running trails- Lock 29.

The trail is mostly paved and super easy running with gorgeous views and nature. It’s just so peaceful.

I actually had my senior photos done here. It’s kinda fun all the little memories we have sprinkled throughout here. I think I was a little worried it would feel like I was stepping back in time coming back to Ohio, in the sense that I worried I would feel like the growth I made in myself over the last nine years would be lost. I didn’t like myself when I left the Midwest, and I worried I’d have some type of identity crisis moving back. It hasn’t been like that though at all, it’s just an exciting new time in every way, and I tend to remember the good here more than the bad. We often smile and laugh about our memories here prior to moving away, and it’s so much fun to simultaneously make new ones in a place that is so special to us ❤️

I can’t wait to share much more!

Thanks for reading 🙂

<3 ,

Mackenzie

Oh Hi!

Hi, everyone! Things might look a bit different around here. I decided after five years, I was ready for a bit of a blog change. I have been thinking about changing the name of my blog for probably over a year now, and I finally landed on the name “Oh Hi!”. It’s a little play on “Ohio”, but I also hope it captures the welcoming nature of the blog. If you type in mackmarie.com, you should still find yourself here, but the alternative URL is ohhiblog.com. That’s really the only change- everything else will be the same! Just a whole lot more Ohio content 🙂

NASHVILLE PART TWO!

Welcome to Part Two of our Nashville Adventures! You can catch Part One here 🙂 We left off after breakfast about to go out on our run. We set out for 8 miles on Stones River Greenway which was only a couple mile drive down the road.

It was an amazing trail & a great run! It was quite hilly in some parts though- so by the time we got back, we were exhausted!

We got ready for the day & then headed out!

For our second day in Nashville, we wanted to avoid some of the more touristy spots and go to the spots the locals frequent. Kels has been to Nashville a few times before, so she knew exactly where to go! 12 South neighborhood was our first stop.

We both had coffee on our minds (can you believe it?), so we went to the frothy monkey coffeehouse, which is a coffee shop I will not soon forget!

You must try their Golden Monkey made with steamed turmeric milk and honey (& add espresso). One of the best coffee drinks I’ve ever had!

We also split a refreshing salad to tide us over before dinner.

Ok, the tourist still came out of us!

We stopped into a couple adorable boutiques along 12 South too. Great place to shop!

We continued to walk around, soaking up the wall art and stopping into a variety of shops-there were several vintage shops with the coolest finds sprinkled among the chic boutiques.

Before we knew it, we were hungryyy. We looked up restaurants around, and decided to try a restaurant in Edgehill Village. It was about a couple mile walk from where we were, crossing through Belmont Campus. The campus was absolutely stunning!

We passed through a few neighborhoods on the way and admired the unique character and architecture of the homes.

When we arrived to Edgehill Village, we walked around a little bit more soaking up all the charm.

Right at the edge of the road was Barcelona, the restaurant we had our eye on.

They didn’t have seating available at the moment, but they said the bar seating was first come, first serve. We lucked out, because as soon as we walked over to check it out we saw two lone seats open. We grabbed them and avoided probably an hour wait!

We started with delicious bread and oil and then chose from a mouth-watering list of tapas. The tapas have Mediterranean, Spanish and South American influences, and I can guarantee, whatever you order, will be spectacular!

We chose to split three dishes- the blistered shishito peppers, patatas bravas and grilled octopus.

Everything was phenYUMenal- but I think our favorite was the patatas bravas. I’m so glad Kels suggested we order these- she had a friend that went to Spain who loved them, so when Kelsey saw them on the menu she said we had to get them!

We enjoyed our meals while admiring the brick walls covered with black and white timeless art, the green plants scattered tastefully around and the rustic lighting that added such a warmth and coziness to the restaurant.

Once again, our spontaneous food venture ended up being the best- could not imagine anything better!

I’ll finish up the trip in Part Three 🙂

<3,

Mackenzie

When CA and TX Collide!

Hi everyone- I accidentally had this post scheduled for release yesterday, and as soon as I realized it was published I took it down. Yesterday was set aside for remembrance of 9/11, and I did not want to post in reverence of the day. 

Continuing on through the end of July- the week of July 18th was mostly figuring out my road trip from TX to OH, including a stop in Nashville to see my friend Kels from college. I ran to the mall to get a couple new outfits for the trip/make exchanges & returns.

July 27th was my last day of clinical…forever! My emotions were as mixed as could be: sadness leaving my colleagues and patients from the office, excitement about starting a new chapter, sadness leaving Austin, elation about seeing DJ soon and being back in OH, relief in finishing the specialty, apprehension with no clear job lined– you get the picture.

I brought in bagels from Nervous Charlie’s and Starbucks for the office. Nervous Charlie’s bagels are really good- I did some looking around for the best bagels in Austin and these are near the top of the list for a reason!

July 28th, Sara (close friend from CA who you may remember would bring around the spunkiest dog named Foxy Lady!) flew in to visit. This year, she was diagnosed with and survived breast cancer. I have been in awe by her strength, grace, and outlook every step of the way. When planning her trip, it would be a month after she was entirely done with chemo. She has a friend in Houston too, so when she suggested coming to visit us both in a trip it was a no-brainer! More than anything I just couldn’t wait to give her a hug. It was excruciatingly hard being far from her during all her chemo treatments and the whole journey. I thank God for protecting her through it all and for this time together!

When she got in the car at the airport pickup we couldn’t talk fast enough –we were very excited to be actually catching up in person! We were so wrapped up in conversation that I took a few wrong turns and it took us an extra 30 mins to get back- whoooops.

For dinner we had some phenomenal Mexican food!! Matt’s El Rancho boasts they are the “best Mexican Food in the World”, and a la Elf‘s “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”… is this the best Mexican Food in the World? Welllll who knows- but I’d say it’s hands-down the best in Austin! But was I still tempted to congratulate them on having the World’s Best Mexican Food? Sure was.

For food- Sara ordered their fish tacos – I had a bite and seriously the best fish tacos I’ve ever tried. They literally melt in your mouth! I had their shrimp fajitas which were everything and more I could ask for in fajitas, but the fish tacos are where it’s at!

We savored our meals and time seemed to pass so quickly as we were engrossed in conversation. When we finally left, we realized the place was nearly cleared out- a stark contrast to the lack of an empty seats when we arrived.

We came back to the apartment, jammed to some throw back songs and then watched an episode of Are You the One on Netflix. Can’t get enough of that show!

On July 29th, it was time for some brunch! We went to 24-diner after the breakfast rush. Sara had been here once before when she visited Austin years ago. She raved about it, and naturally we had to go!

First- I loved the interior!

I ordered a magical cappuccino and egg white omelette with goat cheese & biscuits. Those biscuits… !

In the afternoon, we went to get our nails done at Enjoy Nails & Spa. It was a great nail salon and much needed R & R for us both!

We drove around Austin for a little bit looking for the Graffiti Park not realizing it was closed (but it does sound like something else is going to replace it soon). We then went back to the apartment to get ready for dinner.

Dinner was at Sway, another Austin favorite! The tables are communal, but it does seem most people just talk with the people in their own party (so if you don’t prefer to socialize, don’t let the communal tables scare you away!).

We shared their som tam salad to start which was the most refreshing, light, delicious start to the meal!

Sara ordered their thai basil eggplant, and sadly, didn’t love it. I tried some too and agreed with her it was a little too sweet. I think it all depends what you want- if you want a sweeter dish, this would be really tasty. But if you want something more savory- definitely try something else!

I ordered their green curry at the spiciest level, and it was one of my favorite thai dishes I’ve ever had! 

Once again, we shut down the place!

We spent the rest of the evening binge-watching Are You The One with some popcorn and ice cream. It was so nice & relaxing!

On July 30th, Silk Sonic released their new song Skate. We were immediately obsessed and played it every time we got into the car or when we were getting ready.

First adventure of the day, we went to brunch at a favorite of mine, South Congress Cafe.

We got mimosas and veryy tasty meals! I was craving another goat cheese omelette after the one the day before and Sara had some of their migas, which she said were amazing. Also if you go here, and you like potato pancakes, you must make sure to try these ones. YUM! After brunch, we walked around South Congress and shopped for a couple hours! We adored the sign at the Tiny Grocer grocery store. Naturally, the rest of the weekend we would break out in song at random songs singing the tune of Tiny Dancer with our new found lyrics.

When we got home, we relaxed for a bit, squeezed in another episode of Are You the One and then ordered pizza from Via 313. I decided to try their vegan pizza this time- it was good vegan pizza, for sure— but nothing beats their classic four cheese!

After pizza, we decided to hit up Rainey and went to Unbarlievable, a place made for millenials. They play the best music, and it’s overall a more tame crowd than on 6th. Oh, another fun little nugget about Unbarlievable- they have a slide inside. The whole vibe is really fun.

Then we walked over to 6th street (lovingly known as Dirty Sixth) to get some Voodoo Donuts. I have never been on 6th at night like that- it was … something to say the least, lol!

I had never had Voodoo donuts before (I know, a crime considering it was right down the road). I think I thought they wouldn’t be very good for some reason?… Maybe because I know them as having such extreme toppings and just saw it as a gimmick shop. Well, I was flat out wrong. These were incredible. I’m so bummed DJ never tried them, because he would have LOVED.

I had their maple cream, and mmmmm, so good.Sara had their Oreo one!! 

We did one more episode of AYTO, and then it was off to sleep. The next day, we met her friend from Houston halfway. It was a hard goodbye, but we packed amazing memories into those few days! <3

Alfred, Idlewood & Once Over Coffee!

Hi all! Cruising along on our coffee tour through June- On June 23rd I hit up a nearby Alfred. This was only about a half mile from our apartment, so I am really not sure why it took me so long to venture over there! It’s connected to a hotel, so I think it just wasn’t on my radar. BUT I was so excited to try it again because the last time I had tried it was in LA several years ago!

Decisions decisons!!! It alll sounded oh so delish…. I think I short-circuited overwhelmed by all I wanted to try and ended up just going with my usual (a cafe au lait).

It was very good! Since the shop is located in a hotel, there is a nice little seating area in the lobby. I grabbed a spot and camped out with my books, sipping my the coffee and prepared for my virtual endocrinology intensive.

It was actually a great place to get stuff done, and I wish I had taken advantage of it more while I lived there.

Before walking back, I stopped in the bathroom. Is this not the most unique bathroom wall you’ve seen? I’ve tried to figure out what these words are from, but I haven’t been able to after a quick search. Do you have any ideas?

June 24th our OCI began.. It was a scary one with high-pressure check-offs, but it was also one of my favorites from a learning perspective. We were sent in the mail different technology to spend the weekend wearing so we could understand how to better teach, but primarily, to empathize with our patients considering what this technology requires. I just thought it was the coolest thing our school did this- and it was invaluable – I learned a lot through that intensive and through the tools provided. (None of the equipment went to waste- it was all either given to someone/sent back to the school).

After the second day of the intensive, DJ arrived on June 25th! You can read all about weekend here if you’d like 🙂

In most evenings after clinicals I would go out for a walk/run around Austin to clear my head. I savored every one of these.

And now hopping into July! July 2nd I ventured into Idlewild Coffee shop. It is actually half skate shop and half coffee shop, so there isn’t anywhere to sit and hangout- it’s more coffee on the go.

It wasn’t my favorite coffee- it was okay- but pretty strong- you could tell it was high quality, but a little bit too strong for me. Some people love that, but it just was not my cup of tea… ahem, coffee.

On July 8th, I did find some of my favorite coffee in town from Once Over Coffee Bar. This was also the absolute perfect place to study!

I guess I’ll stop here, but there is lots more from Austin coming soon 🙂

Question for you! DJ and I recently started the The Umbrella Academy. We’re only an episode in, and it is so bizarre, but we have heard it is a really good show. Have you watched? What did you think of it if you did?

May 2021!

Heyyyy everyone!! I am writing you from Ohio!! It is very surreal (in the best way!) being back here. I spent the last couple days unpacking, but now that is all finished up. DJ already unpacked from the first leg of the move, so I just had to unload/organize what I brought with me in my car from TX. Phew, feels good to actually be done moving. We have a loooong list of things we have to do to get our townhouse furnished/put together (did I mention we bought a townhouse?). It’s so much fun figuring it all out and looking at home inspo. First up, we have to find some blinds because currently we have Christmas gift wrapping paper up on the windows, lol! I’m allowing myself a little time each day to catch up on the blog over the next couple weeks. I’m also using the next week to get settled/see friends and family, and then will start the job search- eeeek! Exciting, but oh so nerve-racking entering this whole new chapter. Anyway-I think I’ll be able to catch up on recaps very quickly. It’s been a whirlwind, so I’m looking forward to just reflecting on all the awesome memories from the last few months.

After returning from graduation, May 10th DJ and I went to one of our favorite quick food spots in town- Sweet Green.

I always get their super green goddess salad with added tofu and DJ likes their sun-dried tomato salad. 

All May 10th and 11th was dedicated to getting the apartment packed.

We took advantage of one last carry out order from Hopdoddy burger bar. I am going to miss those impossible burgers!

May 13th I had a meeting with a potential clinical preceptor for my endocrinology clinicals. It went well, and he agreed to precept me. It’s just wild writing this now that the rotation is already done- I know I keep using this word- but “whirlwind” is really the only way to describe it!!

I crammed for boards that whole week in between packing and meals too.

We went on a walk together the evening of May 15th, soaking up the views.


May 18th I took my boards, and after finding out I passed, I zipped to Cuvée coffee for a celebratory latte! This is my favorite cafe au lait in town.

That evening we met up with some friends at Aussie’s for a going away dinner for Deej since he was leaving that week.

May 19th was our final date night before DJ moved back to OH (or so we thought, I was really grateful he was able to come back for that weekend in June!).

We spent the day finalizing any remaining things to get ready for the move, then in the evening walked next door to our apartment complex to sip on some beers at Yeti’s Flagship store.

Their outdoor patio had been closed through the whole last year, so when they opened back up we said we had to try it before DJ left.

Where we were sitting we could see the bat monument at the end of South Congress.

After, went on a nice long walk through downtown and stopped at CAVA to try some delishhh mediterranean. People have described it as the Chipotle of Mediterranean food- and that’s exactly what it was like!

We ended the evening by enjoying the apartment rooftop while the sun set. 

May 20th, I frantically tried to catch up on my specialty courses since I was a solid week behind.

May 21st, my mom-in-law and Gordie helped us BIG time with our move. They drove all the way from Ohio to help out. We loaded everything up into a U-haul and then later that day drove to Pennybacker Bridge for some views. 

For dinner, we went to Jack Allen’s Kitchen. Look at the size of that country friend steak! I had their shrimp tacos which were really good too.

The morning of May 22nd was incredibly bittersweet. First, we had a wonderful breakfast together at Phoebe’s Diner.  A fun fact we learned at this breakfast thanks to Phoebe’s menu- “pork butt” is actually not the butt of the pig, but rather the shoulder.  Did y’all know this? Oh, the things you learn! Featured here is the delicious deep fried french toast.

Then it was time for them to start the road trip back to Ohio. I was so sad when they left, but I had a ton of catching up to do for my classes so thankfully that kept me busy and distracted.

I was left with the bare minimum to get through the summer so I could fit everything in my car to drive to OH. I kinda loved it though- I feel like the less “stuff” there is around, the clearer I think.

^I can’t remember the last time I actually wore my Uggs out of the apartment, but I wear them allll the time at home like slippers. Anyone else? lol

My sister-in-law, Amy, sent me this homesick Ohio candle as a graduation gift, and it was so timely. I lit this the first night DJ was gone, and it was really comforting knowing I’d be there in just a few months with him!

May 24th I started my clinicals for endocrinology!

For the summer, I decided to make one of my main goals to try as many coffee shops as possible on my days off. On May 28th, I went to my first stop of my Austin Coffee Tour, Houndstooth Coffee. It was great coffee, and even though it was pretty busy, there was plenty of seating. I worked through some lectures before heading home.

May 29th I decided to grab some sushi from Komé to enjoy while working on some projects. It was phenomenal sushi.

And that is all for May!

I’d love to know:

  • How is your August going so far?
  • Where do you like to look for home inspo? I’ve been using a lot of Pinterest lately but am wondering if there are other places I should look/shows I should watch/blogs I should follow?!

– Mackenzie

Walking Through March 2021!

Gooood morning!!! I am feeling particularly chipper today. I woke up at around 5:20, had some toast, went to Orange Theory at 6:15, unloaded the dishwasher, watched a lecture, had another breakfast, read my Bible then started to crash, so now at around 10:30 I am enjoying a second cup of coffee while writing this up. I have a few concrete assignments to get done today that I’m actually looking forward to. I love when there is a solid endpoint with written assignments vs. studying that feels far more nebulous. I’m saving all that for the rest of the weekend.

Now zipping on back to March.

March 3rd was a particularly beautiful evening for a walk. I saw this little tranquil crane enjoying the sunset as well.

I never get tired of all the different fun artwork all over Austin. I am always seeing something bright & new. I adored this little Greetings From Austin Postcard mural on the side of a building on S. 1st Street near Roadhouse Relics.

March 11th was my final clinical day for the FNP program. I really miss that office. I’m hoping to stop back to see everyone one more time before the move!

March 15th we grabbed some Summer Moon to start the day early and then went for a nice walk together along Lady Bird Lake.

Below is the Stevie Ray Vaughan memorial statue we pass every time we walk the trail.

It was a particularly crisp and beautiful morning that day.

March 16th had a more eerie feel than the previous day, but I relished it. I love cloudy weather, especially when I have a lot to get done. I feel like it gives me an “excuse” to not be outside, ha. DJ always says I would thrive in Seattle, particularly because I also LOVE rain and thunderstorms more than any type of weather. I’ve never been, but it’s on the list!

March 16th – March 18th DJ and I did a whole staycation in Austin! That deserves its own post, so I’ll share that next.

March 19th DJ and I picked up Sweet Green (the best!) and headed down for a picnic on the green space at Auditorium Shores. It was love at first bite, and I have lost count of how many times I have ordered salads from here since. My go-to is their Green Goddess with added tofu.

Watching the sunset from here was pretty spectacular as all the buildings lit up with a golden hue.

March 23rd I discovered DJ’s favorite flavor of Jeni’s at the store so was sure to snag some.

March 23rd we went for a night walk. I’ve enjoyed going for dusk/night walks and runs lately since it’s so darn hot during the day. I only walk in busy, well- lit areas- do not worry! 

March 27th we grabbed donuts from SH Donuts. We love this place, and the people who work there are sooo friendly. Oh, and their donuts are excellent.

After enjoying our donuts we walked around downtown around 7 am. We were loving our morning walks this month.

I also went on a jog after. I had an awesome run with a little bit of sugar high!

The evening of March 28th I made this vegan caprese salad over farro. I wasn’t sure how the “cheese” would turn out, but it wasn’t too bad! It was labor intensive to make, so I think I’ll probably just buy the vegan cheese next time, but it was overall a fun project and turned out yummy.

I remember around this time my actual courses were getting pretty stressful, my motivation was waning, and all I really wanted to do was focus on studying for boards, but we made it through!

March 31st we tried this delish Banza pizza. Gosh, this was REALLY good.

Something I loveeed doing through March was keeping our screen open throughout the day. It was the perfect mild temperatures, and it really did something for my mood. It’s a bit too hot much too hot to do this right now, but I took full advantage when I could!

And I will make sure to share about our Staycation next!

I’d love to know: 

  • Are you a morning bird or night owl? I am definitely an early bird, but my insomnia begs to differ.

January Austin Eats Roundup!🍦

Hey friends!! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I have some long posts in the queue, with nearly each one recapping each month from this last half-year. Wow.. that is crazy to say. Last year felt like the longest year ever… and now this one is flying. Do you feel the same? I am going to save the Christmas post for July so I can do a proper “Christmas in July” post. And between the throwbacks, I’m going to try to add in some more recent happenings.

Wrapping up last year, DJ and I were craving some good froyo, so we stopped by Culver’s on December 30th and grabbed some.

On December 31st, New Years Eve, I stopped by the grocery store to restock the fridge and decided to pick up a TIME magazine I spotted at the checkout. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a magazine, but this seemed like the one to have given what a wild, ~unprecedented~ year we had.  I’m sorry- I know everyone probably never wants to hear that word again.

What better way to ring in the New Year than with Via 313?! I made us some side salads to go with them, because you know, health.

On January 1st, DJ and I decided to order from a restaurant my mom recommended – Flower Child. You will quickly see- this was not the last time we ordered from here! It prides itself on being a health-conscious restaurant, which is nice & all- but their food is soooooo goooood. Our favorites include their corn with quinoa, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. It will be a restaurant we miss a ton for sure.

It was so good we ordered it the next day too!

On January 3rd, I headed to my mom and Pete’s to finish up another clinical rotation. This was a lot shorter than the fall semester rotation, but I was excited to spend this time with them again. I look back at what a blessing this time was I able to spend there. It was certainly frustrating not being able to find these rotations in Austin, but I wouldn’t trade the memories in Keller/Fort Worth for the world. Plus I had the BEST preceptors there, so I can’t imagine it having gone any other way. This rotation in January was Ob/GYN- I learned so much. Oh, and my sister, Halston, was still there too since Christmas! Right before she left, my family surprised me with the sweetest set up-I don’t deserve them!! My birthday was a week later, but Hal wanted to make sure she was there to celebrate. They ordered dinner from one of our favorite restaurants in town, Devivo Brothers, had a balloon, a card and some AWESOME vegan desserts (the little roses in the second picture are all various delicious vegan cheesecakes!).

On January 8th, I decided to run to a nearby Starbucks during my lunch break. I ordered the Kale Portobello Mushroom Sous Vide Egg Bites – but they accidentally made the Everything Bagel ones which I discovered are even better than the Kale ones!! What a happy mistake.

And a Misto was in tow, naturally.

That weekend, on January 9th, my mom, Pete, DJ and I went to Redrock Canyon in Southlake for my birthday dinner. Everything was phenomenal!!

And you better believe we still had room for Andy’s!! It really is the best Frozen Custard- hands down.

That night I opened up birthday gifts at home from mom and Pete <3

My mom even included her famous chocolate chip vegan cookies that are OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. These did not last long!

January 11th we had delicious salmon, salad, peas and rice while watching The Bachelor.

On my birthday, January 13th, my mom made me the most delicious breakfast of egg whites, vegan mozz, a pear balsamic (I think? I have to double check on that!), fresh sprouts from her garden and zucchini bread. Not a bad way to enter into a late-20s crisis! 😉

I returned home that evening after wrapping up clinicals and DJ greeted me with this gorgeous bouquet! For my birthday dinner all I wanted was… you can probably guess it… Flower Child!! It also only seemed right- some Flower Child to go with my Flowers.

Oh, also– I just think this is the coolest thing- Deej got me a kit where you burn the candle down and then plant daisies in the candle as a plantar. I had no problem burning down the candle…. but I have zero, I mean ZERO, green thumb and somehow I could not get the dang Daisies to grow. Hahah. I joke that I can only keep humans alive, not plants.

He also got me a Basil kit- but I am saving that for our new home so I can make fresh caprese with DJ <3

And that wraps up an amazing 27th birthday!! I just had a moment where I thought, “Wait, it was 27, right?”. You know you’re getting older when… *laughs nervously*  On January 15th, DJ and I had a date night out. Walking over to the restaurant we passed by Yeti and saw this sign and found it too funny. When people ask where we’re from around here we always say Ohio, because there is definitely a negative connotation about the annoying Californians invading Texas. We just happened to move directly from California, but we aren’t *technically* from there, lol!We had a giftcard to Swift’s Attic in downtown Austin. We had been once before and loved it!! They shut down for a while, so we were excited to see they were back up and running.

We tried several dishes- and nothing disappointed. Their menu rotates frequently, and everything is deee-lish!

January 17th we ordered Postmates- I clearly was not in the mood to cook in January lol. I thought this note was so sweet our Postmates driver put in our order.

I started my final clinical rotation for the FNP program around January 18th. I was at the same clinical site as the previous summer, so I felt like I jumped right back into the groove. On January 21st, DJ and I were craving burgers, so we drove down the road to try Arlo’s Vegan Food truck.

YOU GUYS. This was maybe the best vegan burger I have ever had. Prior to this, Hopdoddy’s was easily my favorite- but this actually was even better (did not know that was possible). DJ was very impressed. You would not know they were vegan. We didn’t care for their mac n’cheese, but the tater tots and sweet potato fries were perf.

Holy moly, we really ate our way through Austin in January, huh? That evening our second stomach (aka the dessert stomach) called out for some ice cream. We walked down South Congress to Amy’s– a famous spot in Austin for some ‘scream. We were debating between trying Amy’s or Jeni’s (fairly new to SoCo and a chain). Since Amy’s is the classic local spot, we went there first.

We put in our order (it was a hard decision since they have so much to choose from!), and then we just waited while enjoying the neon night on South Congress.

I see why people love this ice cream! WOW. I loveeed their strawberry ice cream. And they do not skimp out on the topping! (psst- must get the cookie dough).

January 22nd, the sweet tooth was still out in rare not-so-rare form, so we decided no time like the present to get Jeni’s to compare the two back-to-back.

I had their Brambleberry crisp, and actually didn’t love it. DJ thought it was really good though. He opted for the salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks- now that was jam-packed flavor!!! DJ said Jeni’s was the clear winner, but I actually preferred Amy’s, since I just love being able to mix toppings into my ice cream. But Jeni’s is pretty darn high quality ice cream for sure.

On January 23rd, my mom-in-law and I were chatting, and she said they were getting True Food Kitchen takeout for dinner in Chicago, and it sounded so good! We said how fun it’d be if we ordered True Food take out too, kinda like sharing dinner from afar. It is one of those restaurants I crave for sureee. I love their butternut squash pizza especially.

And that wraps up our January!! It sure was a tasty one and a great start to the year!

Question for you: 

  • What are you looking forward to this summer?

San Antonio Staycation :)

Hey hey!!! How is it going? So, how do you feel about a Christmas in June post? I know July is usually the whole thing, but I am so excited to share this post, so why not just start these festivities early!!

I am zipping us all the way back to December. DJ and I were desperately craving a break from the books, clinicals, studies, etc. We found a day that worked for both of us and decided to do a quick staycation in San Antonio, an hour down the road. DJ has never seen San Antonio at Christmas either, so this was a must before we moved!

I did my nails for the first time since probably that prior May(?), and it felt goood to have some color on them. Any other runners have scars all over their hands from falling? Just me? Oops, haha. 

I also put on some of my favorite earrings from Rach! They go with everything, and they have become my “go-tos”.

And let the adventure begin! Also, if you want to explore prior San Antonio adventures- you can head here and here 🙂 

For starters, we checked into the Westin downtown. We had some Orbitz points to use up, so we were excited it worked out to use it for this hotel. We were super amazed with all the precautions taken too. Who knew self cleaning buttons even existed?!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 9f9a9dc6-ef3f-448b-afc9-195e7523ef5a-819x1024.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 227ee878-f462-4b6e-8af9-ebb79e6254f8-820x1024.jpg

Even the remote was protected!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is e28d18d2-9034-40f6-b5df-597855673a8f-821x1024.jpg

After dropping our suitcases off we headed out to walk around the city. DJ was the tour guide, even though I had been there more than he had – look, I can’t do directions for nothin’. I get all sweaty when someone gives me directions in “Compass”.

This little area (I’m sure it has a name?!) is probably my favorite place to walk around. It has such a vibrant and energetic vibe. (More vibrant and more energetic in the non-pandemic era, of course).

The architecture around the city is just stunning too!

And finally, what we came here for— the Riverwalk!

We walked the entire Riverwalk before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I was so eager for it to get dark for DJ to see it lit up with the Christmas lights over the water!

Our view outside the hotel was pretty amazing at sunset. 

We were in awe of the beauty of this hotel!

And there is no possible way to capture the glowing, festive lights in all their glory through a picture, but it is a sight to see!

We went to boudro’s for dinner, of course! It was delicious- I have recapped it once before and the lighting wasn’t great for pics, so I’ll leave those out this time.

After a restful night’s sleep, we went to Ostra for one last meal on the Riverwalk. I first went here with my mom and sister and remembered their food being so yummy.

And it did not disappoint this time either! I had one sip of their coffee, and it was glorious. It was soo good I had to ask the waiter what they used. And guess what it was…Not just your average coffee, nope. Peet’s! Of courseee I loved it.

DJ ordered their waffle & berries & I ordered their lox croissant. My mouth is actually watering writing about it- this brunch was mighty tasty.

And would it be a San Antonio trip without a visit to The Alamo? 

We opted out of the tour this time, but DJ was glad to see it from afar.

And that’s a wrap on our little staycation!

Question for you:

  • How the heck are ya?! Been a minute. 

Ummm I don’t think I can do my signature anymore?! I hear it’s Cheugy.

Oy to the veyyyy, LOL.